Last week, Sons of Anarchy moved the narrative of season 5 ahead considerably with ‘Ablation.’ The heavy episode was an eye-opener in many ways, but more than anything, it put the characters into their starting positions to bring in the storyline’s climax. Most importantly, Gemma (Katey Sagal) was faced with the incredibly difficult choice of picking up the pieces and starting anew with Nero (Jimmy Smits), or maintaining her identity as an old lady – complete with son and grandkids to pester/dote on – provided she gets her son enough information on Clay (Ron Perlman) to make sure the old guy never schemes again.

There were enough dangling issues left at the end of ‘Ablation’ that, to be effective, ‘Andare Pescar,’ needed to address them immediately. To its credit, the episode doesn’t waste any time. The issue of Frankie Diamonds (Chuck Zito) and who would get to him first – Jax (Charlie Hunnam) or Clay – is handled with surprising efficiency that normally would have seemed too brief and too convenient to have any real effect. Frankie’s death could have been another deal-with-Clay-next-season moment for Jax, but it actually serves to pull everyone closer together, making the endgame a possible life or death struggle for some who aren’t even aware their number’s been called. Of course, that’s in reference to Juice (Theo Rossi), and the fact that Jax surmised he was the rat after pressing Roosevelt (Rockmond Dunbar) for information.

A lot of what’s going on this late in the season is interesting primarily because of where the storyline started. Damon Pope (Harold Perrineau) was set up to be the major conflict for the season, while whatever scheming Clay, the Galindo Cartel/CIA, and Galen and the IRA had going on took a back seat. Surprisingly, after ‘Laying Pipe,’ Damon Pope was somehow moved to the back of the line, becoming more of an asset and ominous presence than an actual threat. Chances are still high Jax has something planned for him – considering Pope set in motion the events that would lead to Opie’s death – but for now, the MC’s president has more personal matters to attend to.

Most importantly, ‘Andare Pescare’ does a remarkable job of setting the next episode up to deal with the penalty of deceit. Sure, Jax could just out Juice, pull his patch and feed him to the proverbial wolves, but there are too many moves to be made. As he sees it, Juice made a decision to betray the club, and one way or another, he’ll have to pay. Clay got lucky when it came to Frankie, but with Gemma and now (most likely) Juice, Jax has a couple aces up his sleeve. Let the games begin.

Highlights from the episode:

  • “I see you, Gemma.” Nero is clearly a fan of Avatar.
  • Maybe it’s misdirection, but it seems unlikely those ashes are actually Carla (Wanda De Jesus).
  • Chibs (Tommy Flanagan) made it through his Frankie Diamonds ordeal a little bruised, but basically fine.
  • Bobby (Mark Boone Junior) confronting Clay really sold the idea of how much history there is in SAMCRO. Jax chose wisely with his VP.
  • Tara (Maggie Siff) may have convinced Otto (Kurt Sutter) to recant his testimony in the RICO case.
  • The prison and perfume scene between Otto and Tara as sad as it is disturbing. The scene at the end with Tara and perfume is just disturbing.

Sons of Anarchy continues next Tuesday with the 90-minute ‘Crucifixed’ @10pm on FX. Check out a preview of the episode below: